Are you IN or OUT?
What I mean to ask is, are you in the “in” crowd or the “out” crowd? If you answered “in crowd”, then you might want to re-adjust your focus and priorities. If you answered “out crowd”, ironically you may also need to re-adjust your priorities.
Have you noticed that cliques and certain social groups kind of naturally “pop up” in church? This is sad, but inevitable of course. I think most visitors today feel comfortable in churches where this kind of “vibe” is kept at a minimum.
But if you are trying to be part of the “in” crowd, what does that really mean? There is a balance of being open and vulnerable and wanting to have fellowship with God’s family, and yet also not wanting to create a closed social group that basically looks down on other people for not being “good enough” or “cool enough” or “spiritual enough”. I have found that whatever the variety of the clique, it ultimately becomes a negative and dangerous element within the life of a church.
Jesus said, “Watch out for the leaven of the Pharisees!” (Luke 12:1) His disciples didn’t get it. But Jesus saw them begin to compete with each other and desire to be greater than each other. Jesus lifted up a little toddler and told everyone that “if you want to be great, you must become like this little child.” (Matthew 18:3)
At the end of the day, Jesus is not at all impressed with how stylish and put together you appear on the outside – he cares about your humility and purity of heart on the inside. Hypocrisy is that leaven that Jesus warned about.
It is hypocrisy to think you are “better” than anyone. God knows your heart. We are all the same at the foot of the cross. And we need to live that way if we are to avoid becoming leaven – which is like a really bad infection. Is that how you want to appear before God and all the hosts of heaven today? You want to look like puss is oozing out from within you? Yuck!
Here is a sure-fire way to tell when you are becoming part of a badly infected clique – if anyone in that clique tells you who you should hang out with, and who you should not, it’s time to run!
If you are part of a group that consistently invites only certain people, and at the suggestion of inviting someone new or different (not including someone who would of course actually be unhealthy to relate with) , you sense a negative reaction from them, it is time to find a new group ASAP. Whatever the social motivations, be sure that they are not motivated to be like Jesus. Because Jesus was the opposite of exclusive and pompous.
Jesus would leave that group, go hang out with that person, and begin inviting other people to hang with that rejected person.
We all KNOW that is what Jesus would do. But then why do we find these other desires inside of us that want to be part of a “higher class” of people?
I watch “THE HOUSEWIVES OF————” from time to time, I will admit. But they are pitiful to watch. They constantly ooze jealously and envy and pompousness. They always let us all know how great their social groups are and how this makes them more impressive as individuals. And then they tear apart one another on live Television with the most petty and immature behavior that you might ever see on TV.
Is that how you and I want to appear on God’s TV in heaven? We are surrounded by a GREAT CLOUD of witnesses! (Hebrews 12:1)
Guess what, you are in the biggest REALITY PERFORMANCE ever! And you have a wide audience, including the only important viewer – GOD!
I hope you and I can continue to keep relevant in our outward appearances, but within that we must keep our hearts humble and not simply hang with the “in” crowd.
After all, our Savior didn’t fit with the “in” crowd (Pharisees) of his day, and was rejected by them repeatedly and eternally.
Too bad for them.